Two bikes, one jug, Zero DSR - 2ERide the 2021 TAT with an electric moto coast to coast

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Am.E, Aug 8, 2021.

  1. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,629
    Just beware Topar doesn't do any installs on Saturday and Monday is Labor day. We're probably going to catch up with you guys today.. going to see salt flats at Great Salt Plains Lake today before rejoining tracks.
    #61
    Am.E likes this.
  2. Oh2RideMore

    Oh2RideMore Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,821
    Location:
    St Louis MO
    What an adventure, and you have yet to hit the real rugged bits of the trail. Floods, heat, mud, breakdwons on electrical bits. Great ride report. Following along. Had a july eastern tat trip planned this year but the rain made us think that mud and creeks would be impassable so just did arkansas, which was a great ride. Keep it coming.
    #62
    talk2debra, Am.E and Wild Juliana like this.
  3. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    2021 TAT – AR OK

    After a rest day at a cabin on a river in Heber Springs AR, we felt refreshed and ready to get back on the trail. We’ve learned that we enjoy our longer trips a lot more if we avoid riding more than about 7 days in a row.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Besides, that gave Kevin time to procure the parts for V2 of his water cooling system:

    [​IMG]
    V1 up top, V2 on bottom
    At a roadside break in the morning, we ran into our first TAT riders, A and J. They are on their way to OR using GPS Kevin’s tracks. Our break extended at least a half hour until the sun told us to move along. I only took this one terrible gopro pic:

    [​IMG]
    Hi A and J!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The day we left Heber Springs AR was the first nice day of riding in over a week. The temperature wasn’t too hot most of the day, as we spent a lot of it at elevations between 1600 and 2000 ft or so, and the roads and scenery were enjoyable. Instead of just pursuing the goal of completing the TAT, we legitimately enjoyed the riding all day long. The Ozarks definitely felt nice compared the riding immediately before and after. (I’ll take AR all day long over MS, I’ll tell you that).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Total loss water cooling at RV hookups, Version 2:



    [​IMG]
    End of day pics are a different flavor than start of day pics

    To us, Mulberry Mountain Lodging and campground was just another spot on our list that had 50A charging. We thought it was another RV park with some cabins, like so many others, and didn’t call ahead. We were very, very wrong. It’s a big venue, and when we arrived in the late afternoon with 30% battery left and no back up plan for charging, we knew we were in trouble. That night Mulberry Mountain was hosting an electronic music festival. It was $200 a person to enter, and a line at the gate where vehicles were being searched. There were hundreds if not thousands of people. The bass could be heard at the entrance across the field. The gate attendant seemed sympathetic to our plight, but his boss unsurprisingly said “hell no” at any thought of helping us.

    There was no cell phone reception. We might not have enough range to make it to a larger town south by the interstate. Ok, well, wikicamps says there is a national forest campground with 15 amp power that we can probably get to. At the first turn off from the paved road, there was a “road closed” 8.5 miles ahead sign. Hmm. Normally, we’d ride in and see if that’s really true, but we’re running out of range fast. Ok, well, there is another way to get to that campground, we’ll just go around. Nope. It also had a road closed sign.

    There was a small campground and store half a mile down the paved rd. We pulled in at the campground. There was potentially power available, and the meter was on, but the outlets were not live, and there was a lock on the breaker box. At the store across the road, they said we could camp for $36, but no, we could not plug in, even at the store.

    ???

    Really? We’re agreeing to pay you $36 for a not great camp site, and will use less than $2 worth of power, and you’re going to stick with that answer? (The campground was also completely empty, by the way).

    A guy in the store was a local, and confirmed that we could ride past the road closed signs without worry, but that we’d better not aim for that campground we were talking about, because it’s been closed for 2 years. Ok, well, that was close. Thank you, Jeep rescue guy, you saved us from being stranded in the forest.

    The store let us use their phone to call a campground at a private off-road park. They said they’d take us and give us showers for $25. Sold.

    [​IMG]
    Byrd’s Adventure Center is located directly on the TAT, and is where the side by sides go to play. I don’t think we saw any off road bikes. We did see low flying bush planes over the campground in the evening, from the on-site airstrip. We can also confirm that the river is a nice place to swim.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    On our last day of riding in AR, the weather and the riding started out great. We’re in the habit of getting on the road at dawn to enjoy the cooler air for as long as we can.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The sprocket that came with the chain drive conversion kit from Zero is aluminum. We pretty much only have experience with steel sprockets, and did not expect it to wear out this fast. Its only been on there 4500 miles, and its definitely not going to make it to OR. Its really strange to have tires last longer than a sprocket. Of course its a super weird, giant, 65 tooth sprocket too, so its hard to source. There apparently isn’t even a Zero part number for just the sprocket, only the entire chain conversion kit, which we don’t need. Zero will still ship just the sprocket, but only to a Zero dealer. They won’t drop ship. Great. So we’re paying shipping to our dealer in NC, and then paying shipping for them to send it to a person in CO where we can meet up with it. Good job Zero.

    [​IMG]
    Pathetic. 4500 miles. Aluminum sprockets are stupid. Thanks Zero.
    Mid way through the morning, we came to the infamous warloop road:

    A Zero DSR and a lowered WR on Warloop Rd

    [​IMG]



    1)Std disclaimer about video and pics making everything look easy

    2) I’m glad this section was only about a mile long. I don’t mind when the riding occasionally gets a little interesting, but I do not want to ride trails this rough for hundreds much less thousands of miles across the country

    3) Two or three years ago, I could not have ridden this section. It would have been over my head. As a street rider who is very slowly getting further into off-road riding, its really gratifying that this section wasn’t that big a deal to me anymore. I was confident enough in my skills, and had enough experience, that I knew I could get through it. That I stood up and rode it with any amount of skill at all, represents huge progress for me. Being able to do something I could not do before is extremely rewarding. It makes me want to keep trying to be a better rider.

    4) The ledge at the end was really deceptive. It looked like a big drop from above into some big rocks, and I hadn’t walked it. Kevin just told me to stay right and come on, and I wasn’t sure if he was messing with me. My adrenaline was up before I went over, and it turned out to be just a little drop. I nearly fell over laughing.

    A quick and pleasant charge and lunch break in Devil’s Den SP in AR, a bit further off route than we prefer.

    [​IMG]
    The Zero looks like its wetting itself and marking its territory at every RV spot we stop at across the country
    [​IMG]
    Its hot and dusty and this is really disgusting. I put this on my head all day.
    [​IMG]
    This might be a contender for worst wiring at an RV campground, although the competition is fierce.

    Appropriately, we crossed into Oklahoma on a dirt road.

    The stereotype of Oklahoma conjures up images of vast expanses of prairie. We had been bracing ourselves for the long, flat, hot, dusty slog all the way across the panhandle. As it turns out, the hills of AR don’t just suddenly stop at the OK border (imagine that). Eastern OK turned out to be a green and lovely.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    We particularly enjoyed the road along the river just before our camp for the night. The Eagle Bluff “Resort” is right on the TAT route, and next to the Illinois River.


    CREEPY
    An ice cream truck camp through the camp a dusk, which was a first for us. It was every bit as creepy as this video suggests.

    The riding in the very eastern part of OK surprised us. We were up at dawn, riding in the cool morning air towards Salina to get groceries. The road was often tree lined, hard pack two track through a shallow valley and small rolling hills. The early morning air was almost chilly through our mesh jackets, and smelled fresh with dew. The road was just bumpy enough with embedded rocks that it felt good to stand so we could carry more speed. I didn’t stop to take any pictures; the riding was excessively pleasant.

    For the third time since we first met, we saw and A and J heading out as we were packing up after our shopping trip. No visit this time, just a honk and a wave as we leapfrogged each other again on our way west. I expect they’ll end up ahead of us eventually, and we won’t catch back up.

    [​IMG]
    And just like that, there were surprise camels in OK on the TAT:

    [​IMG]
    surprise camels

    The steering head bolt on the Zero came loose. Kevin felt the front end clunk sometime the day before, and found that nut finger tight. We don’t have a socket that size, and vice grips just marred the nut, and we couldn’t get the paint marks to line back up. He tried to tighten it twice, and it just loosened right back up. Time to find a socket, wrench, and some Loctite.

    [​IMG]
    need a real wrench to tighten this properly

    We found it, of all places, at a diesel truck shop near an interstate and truck stop in Big Cabin OK, about 4 miles off the TAT route where we were going anyway to charge the Zero at an RV park.

    [​IMG]
    The diesel mechanic was a hoot. He was a man of few words, but happily recognized what needed to be done, and was willing to just take care of it quickly. We didn’t know the size of the nut, but guessed it was 42mm. He came out of the shop with the right size socket on the first try.

    I didn’t know Loctite came in bottles that large. I think the only words out of his mouth the entire time we were there were “If it were my bike, I’d dip that whole thing in red Loctite.” He wouldn’t even take any money, or let us buy him lunch. We were in and out in under 10 minutes, and now that nut is torqued back to the factory paint marks, and it’s been upgraded from blue to a generous amount of red Loctite. I don’t think that nut is ever going to move again, by gawd.

    [​IMG]
    problem solved
    With that problem solved, we baked in the shade less RV lot for 45 minutes while we topped up the Zero, filled up my bike at the gas station (with 87, again, why don’t they sell 91 anywhere in this part of the country???) and got back on the TAT.

    Lunch under the shade of a tree at a church, the first public place to get off the road in miles.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    there was an overturned car in the ditch on the left (no people present). the vehicles with flashing lights did not move. we could see them sitting there for miles. we just rode around them in the ditch.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    soybeans and corn again. we like the rolling range land parts of OK much better.
    [​IMG]
    the most interesting thing to happen for over 50 miles
    [​IMG]
    seriously. the most interesting thing. and there was shade.
    We spotted this truck, which was cool.

    [​IMG]
    cool truck
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Elgin KS, is a tiny hamlet right on the border with OK, and practically on the TAT route. This AirBnB house rental was a neat find in a tiny town that bills itself as “too tough to die.” There seems to be very little left, but this house was great. Right location, right time of day – neat older house with some antique furniture, door hardware, and cool woodwork, air conditioning to escape the heat, a kitchen, some laundry, and even a garage for the bikes. Very cool, and way more interesting than a motel.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    ” Welcome to Elgin. A Town too tough to die.”
    By now OK looks like what we expected. Highs for the next week are pushing 100*F across the state. The TAT traverses 600 miles across OK, and we’re less than 1/3 of the way there. It’s going to be a long, hot crossing.
    #63
  4. shaner1100gs

    shaner1100gs Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    581
    Location:
    Laurel, MD
    #64
    Am.E likes this.
  5. WKUWIZ

    WKUWIZ Riding the Highway Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,450
    Location:
    Ocala
    Continue to love this RR!
    I am so sorry to hear about the Asshats at Mulberry Mtn. They host a lot of psychedelic festivals with music and must be a calloused bunch. So darn glad you found Byrd's! That spot is an oasis of relaxation. Seeing your photos reminds me of the 8 years I spent riding in NWA (yes, I recognized lots from your photos). Loved the IL River shout out for Eastern OK. My wife and I love that stretch.
    Keep on riding! :beer
    #65
    Dirt2007, Wild Juliana and Am.E like this.
  6. turtlemoye

    turtlemoye I'd rather not be online. Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,769
    Location:
    Uranus
    #66
  7. jdw4748

    jdw4748 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    906
    Location:
    Western Taxachusetts
    Ya have to hope someone at Zero is paying attention to this and taking notes. They are the only real game so far for electric. If they were smart they would use what you guys are experiencing and leap frog their bikes to a real adv capable machine. I'm hoping its a very short window until the other manufactures start offering truly capable electric bikes.
    #67
    Foiler, talk2debra, norton73 and 2 others like this.
  8. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    I wasn't too offended by mulberry mtn. They had a lot going on, and we're super busy. The feeling was mutual, they didn't want us there, and we didn't want to be there. I'm sure it's fine when they aren't hosting a giant event. At the store down the road people really tried to help, and we're super friendly. When you don't have data, you have to fall back on the old way, which is ask the locals. Worked great

    and yeah, eastern OK was almost aggressively pleasant. I'd heard of the GOAT adv route, and sort of dismissed it as something nice for people in the region, since there isn't much. I might legitimately get my butt out there to ride it I liked that area so much.
    #68
  9. modiorne

    modiorne Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2020
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    North Carolina, Charlotte-ish
    Really enjoying the RR and especially the interactions with the helpful locals!

    The video with the Zero coming down the track, I keep forgetting the bike is dead SILENT! Had a BikeSafeNC class with the Matthews PD a year or so back - lead officer there was riding a Zero, and the silence was deafening! They apparently use that stealth to good effect at times.
    #69
    talk2debra, Am.E, norton73 and 2 others like this.
  10. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,348
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Finally, from page one, got back to your RR and now up to date; which was an enjoyable catch up! It has been about15 yrs since I rode what you have. There seems to be much more interesting tracks on eastern TAT from what I remember. Also, your OK section had a lot more interesting roads.
    #70
    Am.E and BigStu like this.
  11. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    I appreciate the comments everyone. We're reading them all, even if we don't have time to respond.
    #71
    zookster likes this.
  12. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    2021 TAT – OK NM and into CO

    The early morning air as we crossed Oklahoma started almost chilly at dawn, and we were happy to be out riding. The road was often lined with little yellow sunflowers. There were windmills, farmsteads, silos, and rolling range land, which definitely had its own charm. Our route across the state looked like an etch-a-sketch; due west for a while, due north, due west, due south.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Small oil wells operated around the occasional cluster of oil tanks. We noted the irony of the oil derricks operating within sight of spinning windmills, likely being powered by the wind. Every now and then there was a small building and some sort of monitoring equipment just off the side of the road, probably natural gas infrastructure. Radio equipment is now solar powered instead natural gas powered, and there would often be a Yagi antenna, sending information somewhere.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    By the time 2 or 3pm rolled around, it was 100*F, we were tired and overheating, and all the romance of travel was gone for the day.

    I got distracted at a charge stop at an RV park talking to the owners, and uncharacteristically did not check my luggage in our effort to just get out of there. I’m usually fastidious to the point of paranoia about checking that my luggage is closed, secure, and ready for travel. I felt a bump and heard a pop 5 minutes after leaving, and discovered the loose end of a Rok strap tangled in my rear wheel. Oops. In all our years, we’ve never broken one until now.

    [​IMG]
    Sometime in the middle of OK, we found patches of my least favorite road surface. Pick your favorite name; bull dust, moon dust, fesh-fesh. I’ve never personally ridden it before. It is not like sand. It’s much finer. Layer it several inches deep, and it’s not easy to ride. OK took it a step further. Take a hard pack dirt road that’s rutted from driving on it when it’s wet. The ruts are not consistent; they weave in and out of one another, and are varying widths and depths. It’s impossible to ride in just one rut. Let the road dry out into a bumpy, rutted rock hard surface, and then cover that with several inches of powdery fesh-fesh. I can’t think of a better way to try and trip up a motorcycle. (I don’t have any pictures).

    We should have stopped just a few miles after the picture below. The track went through a surprisingly hilly and picturesque bit of Oklahoma. The elevation reached around 2000 ft, and the early morning sunlight and views across the oddly hilly landscape and pasture were beautiful. We did not stop for a picture. We wanted to get as far as we could before the day heated up.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Some RV park charging experiences are better than others. At least no one bothered us at the Buffalo RV park. (Really seeing the country here folks. Not going to be a highlight of the trip).

    [​IMG]
    “Oh the places you’ll go” – Even though the Buffalo RV park was closed and abandoned, the owner answered and said it was ok to charge!
    [​IMG]

    The sign said “not a through road,” but the track showed it went through. It’s not a through road for passenger cars, but a small sandy climb through the cow pasture was definitely passable by motorcycle.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Our last day in Oklahoma conspired to finally give us the full experience. The rains had come through overnight, but we didn’t think anything of it. At first, it seemed like just enough to keep the dust down.

    [​IMG]
    No Hunting
    [​IMG]

    It wasn’t long until we came across the infamous OK mud. It was very deceptive. The road would just sort of gradually get worse over several miles. The surface would not look that bad, until it was nearly too late and you realized your wheels are completely caked in mud, and the surface is as slippery as ice to both motorcycle tires and boots. We know how this goes, and have no desire to spend all day fighting though miles of this stuff for no reason. We backtracked and bypassed sections of mud a lot this day.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The TAT goes this way. We did not.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Another nearly abandoned RV Park. Any 50 amp near the TAT will do.
    [​IMG]
    That’s a hill in the background!!!!! (Look closely, I promise its there).


    They couldn’t have known it, but the Great Plains Bunkhouse (GPBH) is perfectly positioned to help an electric motorcycle through a remote part of the TAT. Before we knew about the GPBH, the section of TAT from Boise City OK though NM and into Trinidad, CO was going to be a test of range. There ain’t nothing out there. GPBH is about 30 miles west of Boise City, at the very end of the panhandle, and 120 miles along the TAT from a public EV charger in Trinidad. Stay overnight and slow charge, and all of a sudden this part of the route is easy peasy.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It was hard to leave. This place is just so cool. The owners are some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and have some great stories. A and J, the TAT riders we met in AR, landed for the night. A Jeep guy doing the TAT was on the back side of a rest day. The weather had finally become comfortable. At night, you can see the Milky Way out here. Great Plains Bunkhouse is probably our favorite overnight on this trip, it’s a special place.

    [​IMG]
    caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet

    In the morning, OK tried to slow us down in the very last few miles with a small bit of sandy two-track, like it didn’t want us to leave.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We dutifully followed the route, and finally managed to escape. At last, we are finally out of Oklahoma. We had entered on the eastern end of OK at about 1100 ft of elevation, and were leaving at over 4500 ft. The climb is so gradual, its impossible to notice over the length of the state.

    [​IMG]
    Finally! NM!
    [​IMG]
    Pronghorn a bit out of reach of the lens

    Pavement, and then fast gravel roads, took us through the roughly 70 miles of NM fairly quickly.

    There were only a few short sections of class two riding. Mostly, it was just fun to see the landscape change, and finally be in the hills again. We’d finally reached those hills we had seen for so long in the distance across Oklahoma.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    NM was very remote. I don’t think we saw a single human for over 3 hours. There were roads, fences, power lines, mailboxes, houses, and even a tiny town with parked vehicles, but we never saw any people until the outskirts of Trinidad CO.

    Colorado started with some long stretches of fast gravel road.

    [​IMG]
    Roadside snack buddies in CO. They asked in every way they knew how, but we didn’t share.
    [​IMG]
    We pulled into the public charger at the electric co-op in Trinidad with 3% left on the Zero battery, the closest we’ve ever come to running out, by far. Maybe we need to be more careful now about accounting for elevation changes. Perhaps there was more headwind than we realized. Regardless, we should have gone slower.

    [​IMG]

    The Chargepoint brand charger looked new, and at first this looked like it was going to be a relatively fast charge. A few minutes into the normal routine, the whole charger shut off. The charge station was completely dead. People inside the building knew nothing, and since there wasn’t an obvious breaker box, Kevin opened up the box that was obviously feeding the charge station. Ah hah. There’s the problem. Inside, were 40A fuses.

    40A is only enough to run one plug continuously, not two. They had installed a brand new charger with two plugs, but only installed enough fusing to run one plug at a time. Obviously they had never had two cars plugged in at the same time before now.

    [​IMG]

    To sum up our “load testing across the nation” experiences thus far:

    Wires coming out from under a bucket at an RV park? Charge there no problem.

    [​IMG]

    Professionally installed public EV charger at an Electric CO-OP? Nope. Can’t charge there. We keep checking, days later this charger is still showing as offline on Plugshare.

    [​IMG]

    Our next stop was a mile or so up the road to Topar Racing. My bike needed an oil change, and a clean air filter, and Kevin had managed to get the battery on the Zero up to 10% before the charge station quit working.


    Guys, Topar Racing was the most incredibly over the top positive experience. It was ridiculous. I had not called ahead. I showed up and asked about buying oil and changing it in their parking lot. They offered to just do it for me right then. They let Kevin plug into the welding outlet in their shop, which is 220(240?)V 50 amp circuit, so it should only take about an hour to finish charging. Kevin has been carrying the adapter for this type of outlet for over 3000 mi at this point, just in case it came in handy. It saved the day. The guys at Topar changed the oil on my WR, cleaned the air filter, lubed the chain and kick stand (I didn’t even ask for that) before Kevin’s bike was done charging. They gave me stickers, and a photo copied map with options for roads they recommend other than the TAT, and charged me a very fair rate. No one there seemed to hate life or their job. How very unexpected.

    [​IMG]
    This is all working out great for me (Zero charging in background)

    From there it was a quick 70 miles to La Veta CO. Even with the charging hiccup and maintenance stop in Trinidad, we still managed a 200 mi day after starting in OK.

    Landing in the mountains of CO during labor day weekend was not good timing, especially when you are trying to find a place to take an off day with someone who doesn’t own camping equipment. Everything, and I mean everything, was booked.

    [​IMG]

    Thus, the “accommodations” we were able to find last minute. Thank goodness the weather is so nice here. (Those campers really are vintage trailers from the 60s. They were in surprisingly good condition.)

    [​IMG]

    I don’t get to see this guy nearly enough.

    [​IMG]

    He also brought presents. I got a new Rok strap, and Kevin got a new rear sprocket for the Zero. Now we just need some time to install it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    These wander nearly fearlessly around La Veta CO

    First, however, it was time to get our first taste of the CO mountains on this trip.

    [​IMG]

    On our way to Salida, we crossed 10,000ft, and saw our first patches of Aspens on the TAT. We can’t believe just how nice the weather is now. We timed our trip hoping to have good weather in CO, and boy are we getting it. Its perfect.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Charge stop shenanigans:

    [​IMG]
    Moto Hobo 1
    [​IMG]
    Moto Hobo 2
    [​IMG]
    Moto Hobo 3
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Just past Salida is where the riding got a bit interesting. We didn’t know that Marshall Pass was coming, or that we would have a choice of how to get to the top. If there was a warning, we didn’t see it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Had I known, I would have taken the easy pass road. I didn’t know it was easy. The TAT goes along Poncha creek instead, and what I would alter learn is labeled as the Poncha Creek 4×4 road.





    This is the hardest riding we’ve done so far. The road starts innocently enough, with a single lane class two along the creek. People were getting their truck campers in there to some pretty nice dispersed camping spots, so it couldn’t be that bad, right? It got worse.


    The road devolved into a full on rock garden at one point. (Always fun to ride on bike carrying things like a laptop and raw eggs :)

    [​IMG]

    While I would have preferred to take the easier road, I at least didn’t hate it. Some of it was genuinely fun of course. And I made it through without dropping the bike, so I guess it wasn’t that bad. I’m glad no one was filming me for some it though, it got ugly. Like, “aww, bless your heart, you did it all by yourself” sort of ugly.


    The top of Marshall Pass, our first success of the CO passes on the TAT:

    [​IMG]

    The rest of the trip into Lake City went much smoother, covering a lot of the same roads we’d ridden two years ago on the COBDR. The riding and views out here are just incredible to this east coaster.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Similar to two years ago, I’m a little nervous and excited for what comes next. The big passes after Lake City are sure to be outstanding.

    Cross posted from here.
    #72
  13. T3/T4 Hybrid

    T3/T4 Hybrid Lone Rider

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    212
    Location:
    K-Town NC (BSG-62)
    The owners (Alan and Linda) at Elkhorn are really nice folks. Enjoying your ride report!!

    Attached Files:

    #73
    Am.E likes this.
  14. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    456
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Very interesting ride report. I know it’s not the star of the show but how did your WRR do?
    #74
    Am.E likes this.
  15. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    They really are. Elkhorn is the place in Lake City.
    #75
    T3/T4 Hybrid likes this.
  16. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    WR is great I love this bike. I don't mention it much because the TAT has been done by many a WR. It's more capable than I am, even after I lowered the poor thing, put a giant gas tank on it, and loaded it with too much stuff. I even feed it 87 octane and it just keeps on being awesome.
    #76
    jwc, zookster, iatethepeach and 2 others like this.
  17. iatethepeach

    iatethepeach Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    USA
    The high-tech bike is cool but we also love the WR.
    #77
    xcsks and Am.E like this.
  18. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21,912
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Very impressive. I once owned a Smart car and nearly went bankrupt having it fully serviced at Lone Star Mercedes Benz in Calgary. Wandering around the showroom a guy was trying to sell me a then new E-Smart. The range was 90 miles and I told him I wouldn't be able to drive it home without being stranded on the highway. Too funny. Some of the E-cars are 4 and 5 times that range now.
    #78
    Critic and Am.E like this.
  19. cedric

    cedric Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    Calgary
    #79
    Am.E likes this.
  20. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    483
    Location:
    NCNC
    2021 TAT – CO

    While walking around Lake City, CO, we saw an unexpectedly large group of men roll into town on unexpectedly small motorcycles with luggage on the back. Obviously we walked over to check that out.

    [​IMG]
    #monkey1000 – Smells like CO

    #monkey1000 – 1000km, not miles, because let’s be reasonable. Apparently they are riding in several groups for 1000km, off road, on what appear to be original Honda Monkeys, not the new ones. That might be crazier than trying to take a Zero across the TAT. (Those tiny wheels….).

    We took our time heading out of Lake City in the morning towards Cinnamon Pass. CO has been on our minds since the beginning, and we want to soak it up.

    [​IMG]
    Leaving Lake City CO

    Those who have ridden the passes before know what this experience is like. The views are stunning, but riding at elevations above 10,000 ft for hours at time on terrain that often requires standing and actively riding the bike definitely wears us out. We both did much better with being at elevation this time than we did two years ago, when we felt more physically affected by the thin air.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Cinnamon Pass

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Animas Forks

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    California Pass (We both struggled just a tiny bit on the way up, it was steep and loose).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Hurricane Pass

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We do want to mention that the Zero is a pretty blunt instrument for this sort of riding. It’s heavy. The front suspension really is not adequate. It’s laughably easy to bottom the front forks. There also isn’t enough regen braking. Gas bikes use engine braking a lot on these steep descents. The Zero could have enough regen braking to be useful, but does not. The only way to slow down on steeper grades is by using the friction brakes, which is very limiting when there is low traction. Range was terrible through this section, as there is a lot of elevation gain, and there just was not enough regen braking to make a difference on all the steep descents, as there often is in other conditions.

    And thus it happened. On one of the steepest hairpin descents from Corkscrew Pass, Kevin dumped the bike.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I just want to mention, Kevin hasn’t dropped a bike in years. Both of us have ridden this entire trip so far, well over 3000 miles, without issue. This one was just a slow speed tip over. It was steep, loose, and you can only brake and turn so much before the front washes out.

    We were both surprised when I dumped mine hardly 100 ft later, and slid around until the bike ended up pointing the wrong way.

    [​IMG]
    The pictures don’t show how steep and loose it is. We’ve been riding rougher surfaces all morning, but at least there was traction (well, mostly). We both struggled a little just to walk here, our boots slipped easily. We rode these same passes two years ago on our COBDR trip, and neither of us remember having a hard time on Corkscrew pass. That’s off pavement riding for you, conditions change.

    (Also, both in Lake City and Ouray, it was interesting to hear universal complaints from locals about the increase in side by side traffic, and how it’s tearing up the roads. Kevin and I wonder if it’s just an increase in traffic in general as well. Lake City to Telluride was absolutely packed full of Jeeps and side by sides).

    Don’t crash your motorcycle on your eggs. (Two survived!)

    [​IMG]
    Crash casualty. Containment thankfully not breached.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Time to pry the charger box back out again. He really should crash on the other side next time.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We got a bit stuck in Colorado. It’s just so nice there. (At least in early September). The weather was perfect. Even on the high passes, we were in T shirts and mesh jackets. The forecast for Moab, UT said high 90s again, and we just didn’t want to leave CO. We spontaneously took yet another off day and hiked the Ouray perimeter trail.

    Forewarning, too many hiking pics.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This penstock is miles long. I would not want to own and maintain this hydro plant. 900kW isn’t worth it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    No regrets, this was a neat trail.

    We had some good neighbors at our campsite in Ouray.

    [​IMG]
    We were told to skip Ophir pass. Maybe we should have listened.

    Although it’s well known, I feel obligated to mention that the ride on 550 (the gorgeous paved road known as the million dollar highway) between Ouray and Silverton CO is simply stunning. That is an incredible stretch of road that’s probably enjoyable via nearly any road legal vehicle.

    The ride up the east side of Ophir pass is unpaved, but nice and not difficult. To follow the route without a long bypass, we had to continue down the pass on the west side going towards Telluride.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This is the part everyone talks about. It was slow going until we cleared the (not too long) section with the large loose rocks. We definitely took a short ride on the struggle bus until the road improved further down the mountain.

    [​IMG]
    I was only able to actually ride some of that section; it was deep, and loose. I had to sit and paddle some of it. The Zero is a ridiculous machine for trying to ride this stuff. Fortunately, the grade on Ophir is not nearly as steep as some of the previous passes. It didn’t feel dangerous, just difficult. We took our time, and enjoyed the views. Ophir pass was no big deal for the jeeps.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Was it worth it? Maybe. Kevin got his cool pics of getting that beast of a Zero through that mess. I get to say I’ve done Ophir pass now. I chickened out two years ago. We took last dollar road around the pass on that trip. It was absolutely beautiful, and the riding was truly enjoyable. I want to come back to CO and take all the bypasses around the high passes, just to see something different. Some people like the bypasses even better than the main attractions.

    We gassed up, charged up, and got lunch outside of Telluride. It was also time to commit to some plans for our time in Moab. That place is a tourist madhouse. Everything is expensive, and last minute lodging is not guaranteed.

    After some time spent getting our lodging in Moab sorted, we hit the road for the last little bit of Colorado. It’s really hard to leave; if we weren’t so stupidly goal oriented and determined to complete the TAT, we would just stay.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Goodbye, Colorado, you were good to us. On to Utah.

    Cross posted from here.
    #80